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Golden Nuggets: Cal Repopulates Memorial Stadium's Oak Grove, Site of Tree-Sitter Fiasco

Almost three years after the treesitters were removed from the oak grove, the Memorial Stadium renovation project has begun to repopulate the grove with an assortment of trees.  Undoubtedly, Dumpster Muffin and friends will soon descend upon the grove to shower the university with praise for restoring trees at a 3:1 ratio.

"We were looking for somewhere to put a 150,000-square-foot building, and we couldn't build on top of Maxwell Field (home to field hockey) or Witter Rugby Field up in Strawberry Canyon," Bob Milano, assistant athletic director for capital planning and management, said of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center, now nearing completion. "Building it next to the stadium just made sense. It had to have everything we needed, in terms of facilities, but we didn't want it to disrupt the theme of the historical facade, so we sunk it underground."

Putting the SAHPC mostly underground meant excavating a grove of trees that, contrary to the protesters' argument, had been part of the local landscape only since the original stadium construction began in 1922.

"There were many ideas how to arrange a building outside the stadium," said Jim Horner, the landscape architect for UC Berkeley. "The solution that the team came up with, along with Olin Partnership, the landscape architect for the project, is a very low-profile building that didn't detract from the lines and the character of the original stadium."

As part of the process, which includes an effort to have the new and renovated facilities connect better with the central campus, the University set out to mitigate the tree removal by planting three new trees for every one extracted. That course of action is being undertaken now, and the effects are becoming visible around the stadium and all over campus. The new trees are a combination of native, climate-tolerant and aesthetically pleasing species that will be installed as part of the construction on Piedmont Avenue.
"The trees are going in first, and will be the backbone for the project," Horner said. "We're not trying to recreate the grove that was there. What we will do is bring back some of that character that was there by putting in large trees. We selected trees from the nursery that were naturals, because they're not grown and pruned like lollipops. We wanted to have as much of the rustic character as we could get." 

After the jump several football players are named to award watch lists and Chris Paul prepares to join Michael Jordan at Cal next fall (wait, what?).